Recently, my wife and I were listening to a sermon on Romans 6, where Paul instructs the believers in Rome to live according to the gift that God gave them. As I was meditating on this some afterwards, God gave me an interesting illustration as to how practicing sanctification corresponds to justification.
My brother, his wife, my wife and I gave my parents a digital picture frame for Christmas. My parents are technologically challenged, so the picture frame remained unused for a while. They were pleased with the gift; they knew it was a valuable gift and that it would make their lives better; but they didn’t know how to use it! It wasn’t until I went to visit them after Christmas that they were instructed in the use of the picture frame and could enjoy the bright pictures we’d loaded for them.
Salvation (justification) is something like that picture frame. When we receive our salvation, we know it is a valuable gift; we are pleased with it; we know it makes our lives better; but we don’t know how to use it. The instructions in Scripture about sanctification that is, living a life that pleases God show us how we are to use the precious gift of salvation in our lives. Like any gift given to us, we can either use it for good or for evil, but only if it is used for good will it make any difference in our life and the lives of those around us.